Bearers of God’s Presence

Praying for Strength and Courage
July 8, 2020
SHAKE OFF THE DUST
July 9, 2020
PITIK-BULAG: Bearers of God’s Presence
 
In yesterday’s gospel, the Lord explicitly called the apostles by their name. It was a very personal calling to ordinary people to join Jesus in His ministry of proclaiming the Good News of God. And the mission entrusted to them was to reveal the presence of the Kingdom of God to the lost sheep of Israel.
 
In today’s gospel, the Lord specifically gave the disciples how to reveal God’s presence to the people: “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. (Matthew 10:7-8).”
When you look closer to these difficult tasks, the mission entrusted to the disciples would simply boil down to one basic ministry, which was to seek the excluded or the lost and bring them back to their family and community.
 
The sick, the dead, the lepers, and the possessed were all considered unclean during the time of Jesus. They were literally ejected from their families and community. They were left alone, ignored, and persecuted. Their pain of being rejected reached the heart of Jesus. He felt their pain and miseries, and deeply desired to bring them back to their own family and community by healing them.
 
WELCOMING THE UNDESIRABLES. The culture of exclusion is in our midst. Many are left alone, rejected by their loved ones for many reasons, and deeply longing for someone who cares. In the midst of this pandemic, we are invited by the Lord to seek the rejects, the forgotten, and the lost in our society. In their pain and miseries, they long to be loved, to be understood, and to belong. They need someone who will not judge but forgive them. The marching order from Jesus is clear. Search for places where the pain is greatest and wound runs deepest, this is the place where God wants us to go.
 
PRESENCE MAKES SENSE. Our Lord wants us to bring love and compassion to others. Our presence remains the best medicine that can ease loneliness in our midst. We cannot instantly cure the pain of others, but we can paint a smile on their faces. We cannot find a solution to the woes of everyone, but we can inspire them not to lose hope and keep on believing. Everyone needs a friend along the way. They need someone who can listen attentively without judgment. They need a companion who can accept them as they are. No one should be alone. Everyone must be on board. Every person deserves a home. They need a hand to hold on when evening comes. Ironically, when they feel our caring presence, they feel God’s divine presence too.
 
BRING NOTHING BUT OURSELVES. We don’t need to bring anything in our ministry presence. Our wealth, talents, and gifts are merely extensions of our presence. These things are worthless without us. The Lord said, “Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff (Matthew 10).”
 
As Jesus’ disciples, we need to trust Him of all the provisions we need in our ministry. We believe that the right graces will be given to us in God’s perfect timing. Thus, our presence will remain our best gift to others. We bring peace to the lost, consolation to the weary, a listening ear to wounded and courage to the hopeless.
 
We may encounter failures, rejections, and persecutions in the ministry of presence. This is perfectly normal because persecutions are part of discipleship. Simply shake off these useless dust from our system and move on. These emotional baggage does not deserve our time and energy. We know our fight and priorities. We know where we should spend our time, energy, and wealth.
 
REFLECTION. Who are the rejects, undesirables, and marginalized in your family and community? Do you see them as objects of evangelization? Do you feel that God is calling you to reach out to them?
 
Are you aware of your role as a bearer of God’s presence? Are you aware that every person deserves your undivided attention and care? How do you treat undesirable and marginalized people?
When our minds and hearts are not in the here and now, we deny others of our authentic presence.
 
– Pitik-Bulag
 
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July 9, 2020 – Thursday
Gospel Reading: Matthew 10: 7-15

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